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Thanks for visiting our website! This month’s picture is from the August 2018 retreat of Colombian preachers in Santa Marta. I was honored to be asked to participate. [Click picture to enlarge.]

Colombian Preachers

Ministry and mission work is a team effort -- Jan and I have shared the work of ministry and missions for 49+ years! Countless people have encouraged us, supported us, loved us, and prayed for us. In addition to the customary "Brother Bob," I am also known as dad and papaw. One of my favorite breakfasts is huevos fritos, frijoles, and tortillas, with a good hot sauce and a cup of rich Colombian coffee! My greatest joy in life is being part of the kingdom; my #1 priority is to advance "kingdom things" and to help develop authentic "kingdom people." I seek to serve and share the good news about Jesus everywhere I go, helping people find Jesus and helping people mature as disciples of Jesus. One of the greatest blessings of my life is to be loved by countless people around the world!


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Archive for January, 2011

Holmes Road: A Special Place in our Hearts

Monday, January 31st, 2011

It is hard to believe that almost two weeks have passed–careful calendar watchers may point out that it was really only 12 days. It is also hard to believe how much has occurred in so short a time. Two special Sundays, Bible studies, three baptisms, multiple responses and recommitments, lots of invitations issued and visitors present, a fellowship meal to honor new members, a new minister now in place….
Those are just the things that can be seen and recorded. The reality is that what has occurred in the unseem realms of human hearts may be much more important that the visible things that history will record. Jan and I have been doubly blessed–blessed by our dozen years of ministry at the Holmes Road church, blessed again to have served over the past six months in a periodic interim role.
If home is that place you go expecting to be received, Holmes Road is one of our homes. We look forward to being part of the celebration of fifty years in just a few short weeks. We prayerfully anticipate the future God has in store for this church. Yesterday’s sermon noted that in Christ God is Able to Meet Every Need. AMEN! That is the God we serve.

It’s Sunday Again: People Matter

Sunday, January 30th, 2011

God’s plan is people-focused. God’s plan is for re-creation of a marred humanity–a humanity twisted and torqued by sin. Simply put, God’s plan is to save people and keep them saved. An oversimplification might suggest that Christ’s mission was to provide salvation and the Spirit’s mission is to secure and preserve.
Jesus taught the value of human beings. Consider the Gospel of Matthew. The old religion has gone astray and lost its focus (Matthew 5-7). So Jesus sends out his disciples to share a new message and power (Matthew 10). He illustrates the possibility of a changed reality (Matthew 13). One essential dynamic in this changed kingdom view is a fresh understanding of people as God’s image-bearers (Matthew 18). Living out these realities demands constant readiness and watchfulness from those who seek to follow and serve Jesus (Matthew 25).
Today’s sermon focuses on the fourth of these five Matthean discourses. No church can reach the potential God has placed before it without understanding the value God places on his human creation. This chapter (Matthew 18) is apparently spoken in response to the disciples’ discussion and question about greatness. Consider how Christians can live out the reality of the kingdom. Consider how we by our actions and attitudes declare that people matter.

Be humble. Find yourself and your place in God’s plan with humility.
Be accepting of others. Do not discard others and deny their place in the plan of God.
Protect others from sin. Do not be a cause of stumbling.
Protect yourself from sin. Watch yourself.
Value one another, even as the shepherd values the one lost sheep.
Correct one another with love and compassion, seeking restoration not alienation.
Forgive one another.

God blesses our efforts

Saturday, January 29th, 2011

Perhaps the church in too many places has forgotten a fundamental truth of Scripture–God’s power in this world is unleashed through the faithful actions and efforts of his people. I wonder if the church has too often come to expect God to act when we are not fully committing ourselves to his plan and purpose. I wonder if a lot of our activities have little impact on the long-term health of the church and the advancement of God’s saving purpose in the world.
Late yesterday afternoon, I received a phone call. Put late afternoon and early evening plans on hold–delay dinner. A young man involved with the college ministry wants to be baptized. A little after 7 p.m. on a Friday evening, eight of us assembled to witness the baptism of yet another soul into Christ.
This story in itself would perhaps not be amazing. What makes it noteworthy is that this is the third baptism in this congregation of about 200 members in the last 10 days. What happens when the gospel is being shared, salvation is being preached, Christians are reminded of their responsibility to talk and invite and study and encourage? What happens when sermons focus on God’s eternal plan and purpose, when the expectation is that God’s people will assemble for one reason–to find power and encouragement for going forth as God’s representatives into a dark world? What happens when the church quits assembling for itself and focuses on Christ? What happens is that God’s power is unleashed and that souls are saved, the kingdom spreads.
Many of us have seen it happen again and again in foreign mission fields. Many others have concluded it cannot happen in the U.S. and have almost ceased God-glorifying, people-saving teaching, preaching, conversations and interactions.
Here is what I want you to know. God blesses our efforts when they are devoted to accomplishing his eternal plan and purpose.

Living at a Special Time

Thursday, January 27th, 2011

I admit it–sometimes I think about strange things.
Today I am thinking about the special blessing I have had to live at this particular time in history. In Bible classes, we try to think about what it would have been like to live in the time of Abraham, or Moses, or Jesus, or at some location described in Acts during the early development of the church. Last night in Bible class, we contemplated life during the last half of the first century A.D. Have you thought recently about the uniqueness of your time in history?
Today I am thinking about the people I have known–those who have lived through some of the same time in history as I have. I am thinking of the rapidly changing nature of our world during the last half-century plus. I am thinking about some of the countless thousands of people we have met and known. My life has been blessed by those whose lives touched, connected, and intertwined.
If you are reading this blog, there is a good chance you are among the special people I am referring to. Today I celebrate life in the moment. Thank you for being part of my life.

Life lessons–we see what we are looking for

Wednesday, January 26th, 2011

The thermometer said it was cold—near 10 degrees below zero Fahrenheit. It was hard to believe the thermometer when one looked out the window on the beauty of God’s creation, lightly blanketed with snow. The morning was dawning bright and clear, the morning sun casting beautiful hues of oranges and reds, yellows and purples across the sky. I could not resist walking outside to experience firsthand the calm and stillness. The sporadic snow flakes sparkled in mid-air as they fluttered slowly through the air, catching the first rays of the sun.

I was impressed anew with the beauty of God’s creative genius. The picture my brain snapped into place captured something I had not experienced in recent years. I savored the moment, and wondered why many shrink back from such beauty, choosing rather to see only the negative. I rethought some of life’s basic lessons–all of life is filled with both negative and positive…things sometimes appear quite different from what they really are…we tend to see what we are looking for…our natural human responses often keep us from seeing and experiencing God’s wonderful blessings.

Seeing God at Work

Tuesday, January 25th, 2011

Jan and I arrived last Friday to finalize our interim ministry commitment. We were met with excitement and anticipation—the news of the baptism of a university student on Wednesday night and the arrival of the new minister and his wife during the week. In the midst of several ministry opportunities that arose spontaneously during the week, the church was abuzz with excitement.

The faith and expectation of the elders was apparent as we met and prayed on Saturday morning. I preached on Sunday, and we had the privilege of witnessing another soul added to the church as a young lady received forgiveness of sins and began her walk with the Lord in the waters of baptism. The service concluded with the church and the new minister prayerfully committing themselves to one another. Given that it was the coldest Sunday of the winter thus far, attendance was superb (it was above recent averages).

Sunday evening we received news of the baptism of the grandson of a former deacon, and marveled again at the continuing power of the gospel in our world. Sunday evening, four brothers renewed their commitment to God and his work. At times, we are tempted to lose hope and give up. Then God reminds us that we do not live in a totally unreceptive world—our world is filled with people who are interested in God’s work and will. To Him be the glory!

Life Savors: The Briskness of Winter

Saturday, January 22nd, 2011

It’s cold this morning. The thermometer says 8 degrees, the weather channel says only 7 degrees. According to the TV, the wind chill is close to -10. The briskness is refreshing–the airy, fluffy snow lies lightly on the ground so that the fresh fallen powder kicks up in random patterns behind the car.

Several thought we were out of our minds to agree to spend a couple of weeks in Michigan during the depth of winter. Perhaps so, but we are enjoying, remembering, delighting in God’s winter wonderland. Inside the church building this morning, the fellowship of the church leaders’ meeting is warm. Because of the brisk cold outside, the coffee and the breakfast are better than at other times.

Life is God’s gift. It is what we make it–when it’s cold, and when it’s not. Life is to be savored and enjoyed, to be observed and used to God’s glory. Today we are remembering, tomorrow we will be looking forward. Today we are planning, next week we will begin work on the plan.

As I savor life today, and enjoy an aspect of life that some would not savor but would dread and avoid, I am reminded that life is neutral. What we do with life is what makes the difference.

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